AUBURN – Auburn Mayor John Jenkins believes “homelessness is hopelessness” and wants to find solutions to the problem.

Speaking at the annual meeting of Androscoggin Habitat for Humanity on Feb. 11, the mayor said he hopes to work in partnership with the group to address homelessness in Auburn.

The mayor said that as a youngster he was “off the chart” and out of control because of his family’s homelessness. He told the meeting at St. Philip’s Church that “The neglected child of today is tomorrow’s perpetrator.”

He said his personal motto is “Housing Opportunity Motivates Everyone.” The mayor credited Androscoggin Habitat with “building out a dream.”

Asked if grant money is available to build Habitat houses, Jenkins said Auburn is a direct recipient of Community Development Block Grant funds. He also said Auburn, with 67 square miles, is the biggest city east of the Mississippi, and there is a good possibility of the city donating land as it has done in the past.

President Sunni Junkins thanked the mayor and presented him with a Habitat hammer pin.

During the meeting, Junkins recognized Androcoggin Habitat board members and volunteers. Dorothy Kern was re-elected to another three-year term on the board. Treasurer Cheryl Black reported there is money on hand to begin construction of a house in April.

Hugh Keene said the Family Selection Committee has narrowed a list of applicants for the house to nine families. Natalie Raye reported for the Public Relations Committee that the chapter plans to work in schools to increase awareness of Habitat activities.

Peter Van Oosten, who heads the Ways and Means Committee, said planned fundraising activities are a breakfast at St. Philips Church on Sunday, April 29; a “scrapbooking” fair in May; an art auction in October that will include local artists and photographers; and events through the year such as a yard sale at Grace Lutheran Church, a food booth at the Great Falls Balloon Festival and a golf tournament in the fall. He said more interaction is planned with community access through Great Falls television.

Mike Carey, who heads the Site Selection Committee, reported that the new house will be built on Golder Road property in Lewiston that has space for four to six lots.

Jerry Junkins, reporting for the Church Relations Committee, thanked several churches that have given Androscoggin Habitat meeting space and other assistance.

He also reported that the new Androscoggin Habitat ReStore, located at 44 Strawberry Ave. in Lewiston, is doing well under the guidance of Paul and Sally Belisle and a group of volunteers. The store is open Tuesdays through Saturdays to sell surplus building materials donated by contractors, business firms and individuals.

All officers were re-elected to their existing posts during a board meeting that followed the annual meeting.

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